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210 Pittsboro Street, Campus Box 6210
Chapel Hill, NC  27599-6210
(919) 962-2091   FAX: (919) 962-2279


Not for publication May 18, 1999 -- No. 340


Local angles: Hillsborough, Creedmoor, Butner, Chapel Hill

Tar Heel Bus Tour faculty learn about writer’s network, barbecue, prison system and dropout prevention program on last day of trip  

Friday, May 21
A discussion about the N.C. Writers’ Network with acclaimed author and Carolina faculty member Doris Betts in Hillsborough will begin the last day of the Tar Heel Bus Tour. Other stops at Bob’s Barbecue in Creedmoor, the Polk Youth Institution in Butner and the Durham Scholars Program at the Kenan-Flagler Business School at UNC-CH.

Thirty-four new faculty and administrators from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill are traveling throughout the state as part of the weeklong 1999 Tar Heel Bus Tour. The bus tour’s 15 stops are designed to teach newcomers about North Carolina’s geography, economy, culture, history, education system and health and social issues. The mobile classroom will cover 1,200 miles through 31 counties by Friday (May 21). Carolina is just one of a handful of major public universities that take new faculty and administrators on tours of their states.

Carolina is an internationally renowned research institution that attracts faculty from across the globe. Yet 82 percent of her undergraduate students hail from North Carolina. The privately funded bus tour allows new faculty -- some of whom have never stepped foot outside the Triangle -- to meet the people whose taxes support their paychecks and offers them insight into where their students come from.

Friday’s schedule:

9:15 a.m.        N.C. Writers’ Network, Hillsborough House Inn, Hillsborough

11:20 a.m. Lunch, Bob’s Barbecue Restaurant, Creedmoor

12:45 p.m. Polk Youth Institution and "Super Max Facility," Butner

3:15 p.m.        Durham Scholars Program, Kenan-Flagler Business School, Chapel Hill

North Carolina has a rich literary tradition that has produced some of the world’s most prolific and inspiring writers, poets and playwrights. Hosting the stop will be Carolina’s own Doris Betts, Alumni Distinguished Professor of English and well-known North Carolina author. As the nation’s largest statewide independent literary organization, the N.C. Writers’ Network serves to unite the state’s public

with these and other writers under the motto of "Writing and Reading: Everybody’s Art!" The network also supports writers with programs and classes that provide opportunities for professional growth. The Hillsborough stop will emphasize how supportive North Carolina writers are of each other, and why this may be one reason that the state produces so many great writers.

While violent crime is generally on the decline in North Carolina, juvenile crime is on the rise; the incidence of youth crimes has doubled between 1986 and 1996. In 1997, about 8 percent of prisoners were youths 18 to 20 years old, and 1 percent were under the age of 17. The Butner visit will highlight the problem of juvenile crime and examine the N.C. General Assembly’s response to the problem with its revision of the state juvenile code, which becomes effective July 1. Participants also will tour the prison’s new Super Max facility, which houses the most violent offenders of all ages from across the Southeast. It is a state-of-the-art, maximum security prison that is one of only three in the nation.

Note to media: Some photo restrictions and admission requirements will apply at this stop for interested media representatives. Bring photo identification. Photographers can take pictures or videos inside but are expected not to identify individual inmates without permission. More details about what prison officials will permit will be available closer to the time from News Services.

The Durham Scholars program in Chapel Hill is designed to help at-risk youth from Northeast Central Durham succeed despite obstacles in their families and communities. The program’s premise is that poor children can succeed if they and their families get encouragement and support. Each year, rising sixth-graders attend afternoon sessions of the College Preparatory Academy. The academy’s goal is to promote college attendance among these youth. The students’ parents also must participate in a parallel set of activities to learn ways they can become more involved in their children’s academic efforts. The program recently moved to the Kenan-Flagler Business School, housed in the McColl Building adjacent to the Dean E. Smith Center, because its former locations were running out of classroom space. Thus, this visit also will highlight how UNC-CH is conducting community service efforts from its own backyard.

Media availability: Tour hosts and participants are available for print and broadcast interviews at stops or by cellular phone by calling Karen Stinneford at 919-218-2380, pager 919-216-4653. Reporters, photographers and videographers may ride on legs of the tour by advance arrangement with News Services.

Photos on the World Wide Web: To download photos posted daily from the tour, visit

For more information: For additional information about the university, the Tar Heel Bus Tour, tour participants, directions or site visits, call News Services at 919-962-2091. Or visit the Web site at

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